The following is a partial list of the major financial aid programs available from the state of Wisconsin and other sources. The Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB) is responsible for administration of some of these programs. The process for financial aid through HEAB is the same as for federal financial aid: complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1 for the next academic year. Information about federal loans and programs can be found in the Guide to Federal Student Aid.
- Academic Competitiveness Grant
- Academic Excellence Scholarship
- Education Savings Accounts
- HOPE Scholarship
- Lawton Undergraduate Minority Retention Grant
- The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit
- Minnesota-Wisconsin Reciprocity Program
- National SMART Grant
- Talent Incentive Program (TIP)
- Hearing and Visually Handicapped Student Grant
- Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (WHEG)
- Wisconsin Indian Student Assistance Grant
- Wisconsin Covenant
This national community service program provides full-time education awards of up to $4,725 a year for up to 2 years of community service. A student must complete 1,700 hours of community service. Students can work before or after they go to college, graduate school, or trade school and can use the funds either to pay current education expenses or to repay federal student loans.
Academic Excellence Scholarships are awarded to Wisconsin high school seniors who have the highest grade point average in each public and private high school throughout the state of Wisconsin. The number of scholarships each high school is eligible for is based on total student enrollment. To receive a scholarship, a student must be enrolled on a full-time basis by September 30 of the academic year following the academic year in which he or she was designated as a scholar, at a participating University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Technical College, or independent institution in the state. The value of the scholarship is $2,250 per year, to be applied toward tuition. Half of the scholarship is funded by the state, while the other half is matched by the institution.
The FFWS provides grants to talented, lower-income graduates of Wisconsin public high schools attending a public college, university, or technical school in Wisconsin. Grants are gifts and do not need to be repaid. These grants are for recent graduates of Wisconsin public high schools who are attending a public postsecondary school. Students will apply the same way they do for financial aid: they will fill out the FAFSA to request financial aid, including FFWS grants, from an eligible college. The grants will be awarded to students as part of a financial aid package provided by each institution's financial aid office.
The HOPE Scholarship tax credit helps make the first two years of college or vocational school universally available.
The credit can be claimed for students who are in their first two years of college or vocational school and who are enrolled on at least a half-time basis in a degree or certificate program for any portion of the year. Parents and students wanting to learn more about this program should read the questions and answers on education tax incentives.
The Lawton Grant assists minority undergraduate students attending UW System institutions. This program is need-based and available to students in good academic standing with at least a sophomore standing.
This tax credit is for adults who want to go back to school, change careers, or take a course or two to upgrade their skills, and for college juniors, seniors, and graduate and professional degree students.
The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit is available for tuition and required fees less grants, scholarships, and other tax-free educational assistance. Families may claim the credit for amounts paid on or after July 1, 1998, for college or vocational school enrollment beginning on or after July 1, 1998. Parents and students wanting to learn more about this program should read the Tax Incentives for Higher Education.
Wisconsin residents may attend a Minnesota public college or university and pay the reciprocity tuition charged by that institution. All academic programs are eligible except for the professional programs in fields of medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. A one-time application must be filed when the student begins his or her Minnesota program. These applications are available from the high school guidance office. For more information about reciprocity, contact HEAB.
Minnesota residents may attend UW institutions and pay reciprocity tuition. Minnesota students should contact the Minnesota Office of Higher Education for more details.
The TIP provides grant funds to very needy students. Students at both public and private institutions in Wisconsin are eligible for TIP awards of up to $1,800 a year. To apply, complete and submit the FAFSA form, and submit a Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Program (WEOP) form, available from any WEOP office.
The Hearing and Visually Handicapped Student Grant program assists students who are legally blind or deaf with grants of up to $1,800 a year, based on need. To apply, complete the FAFSA plus the HEAB Blind/Deaf Certification Form.
The WHEG program provides Wisconsin students attending the UW System and the Wisconsin Technical College System campuses with grants of up to $1,800 per academic year, for a maximum of 10 semesters. To be eligible for a WHEG grant, a student must be a Wisconsin resident and have financial need.
Wisconsin residents with one-quarter or more Native American heritage with financial need may be eligible for education grants. Students apply by filling out a Joint Board-Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal form in addition to the FAFSA.
The Wisconsin Covenant is for residents of the State of Wisconsin who signed the covenant pledge while in 8th grade. Once students sign the pledge, complete all requirements, and submit the required paperwork by April 1 of their senior year, students are confirmed as Wisconsin Covenant Scholars. Wisconsin Covenant Scholars are rewarded with 4 years or 8 semesters of funding from the Wisconsin Covenant Scholars Grant and, if eligible, the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation Grant.